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St. Luke's Pioneers Orthopedic Surgery Telehealth Innovation
June 12, 2017

Post-surgery E-visits save time, add convenience and improve access to care

Orthopedic surgeon Gregory Carolan, MD, performed knee surgery on Anthony Silva at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem to repair a recurring athletic injury. Dr. Carolan saw him for his first office follow-up visit in Anthony’s dorm room at Penn State University Park in State College, over 150 miles away.

High school student and dancer Brooke Wilten injured her knee while skiing and had orthopedic surgery over her Spring break. Eager to return to dance, Brook is able to attend her post-surgery follow-up visits in between classes at Mercersburg Academy, ten minutes from the Mason-Dixon Line. How?

Dr. Carolan can’t make three-hour one-way drives to see his patients, yet he’s still counseling them in person, face to face, no matter how far away, thanks to telehealth video post-surgery follow-ups.

These visits demonstrate the latest way St. Luke’s is using technology to deliver a better, more convenient patient experience and to ensure better outcomes. St. Luke’s was named one of the country’s Most Wired hospitals by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum in 2016.

“This is a logical extension of using technology to create a more comfortable and convenient experience for patients,” says Dr. Carolan, who is the only orthopedic surgeon to champion this remarkable process. The telehealth video process employs a secure, encrypted, health care compliant video platform to protect sensitive patient data.

“Connecting iPad to iPad, I can visualize the extremity, talk with the patient about how he or she is feeling, evaluate their range of motion—just about everything we could do in the office visit,” says Dr. Carolan. “Plus, we eliminate disrupting someone’s schedule and having to secure transportation to and from my office. It saves a great deal of time, since, in Brooke’s case, her parents don’t need to make two round trips to her boarding school, which is three hours away. They are very happy with the results of her procedure and the entire follow-up process.”

“St. Luke’s is among the first in the country to offer this particular service,” says William G. De Long, Jr., MD, Chairman, St. Luke’s Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. “St. Luke’s is once again revolutionizing the total healing experience we provide our patients.”

“Video follow-up after surgery is not for everyone,” adds Dr. Carolan. “But for those who are candidates, it opens up a new world for patients.”

Media Contact

Sam Kennedy, Corporate Communications Director, 484-526-4134, samuel.kennedy@sluhn.org

About St. Luke’s

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a non-profit, regional, fully integrated and nationally recognized network providing services at seven hospitals and more than 270 outpatient sites. The network’s service area includes Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and in Warren County in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing health education, St. Luke’s operates the nation’s oldest School of Nursing and 22 graduate medical educational programs and is considered a major teaching hospital, the only one in the region. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first Medical School. Repeatedly, including 2017, St. Luke’s has earned Truven’s 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation as well as 50 Top Cardiovascular program in addition to other honors for clinical excellence. St. Luke’s is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of St. Luke’s information technology applications such as electronic medical records, telehealth, online scheduling and pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers in comparison to major teaching hospitals and other health systems.